Lee Wolstenholme's blog: 27 July - I want more ULEV incentives!
27 July 2016
Like many others, I was pleased to learn that Milton Keynes Council has launched a free parking permit for ultra-low emission vehicles, which will see parking charges waived in the town's purple standard-rate bays for cars and vans emitting 75g/km of CO2 or less.
With 2015 seeing a 94% increase in ULEV uptake in the UK, initiatives like this are great news for business and private drivers of ULEVs, but it's crucial that motorists outside the UK's four Go Ultra Low Cities of London, Milton Keynes, Bristol and Nottingham aren't left behind. Glasgow, for example, recently scrapped free parking for electric vehicle owners after demand outstripped supply, with many motorists blaming hybrid drivers for unnecessarily and unfairly hogging spaces.
I drive a Nissan Leaf and since having relocated our leasing business to Stockport, I'm delighted to see that the borough offers car parking charge exemption for vehicles emitting less than 99g/km of CO2, along with free parking for EVs provided they are being charged.
At the end of March, Leeds also introduced a permit-based free parking scheme for ULEV owners, so I hope Manchester soon follows on, simultaneously making bus lanes accessible to them like Milton Keynes has done.
The time has surely come for ULEVs to be granted the freedom of the M6 Toll, the Dartford Crossing, Severn Bridge, Second Severn Crossing and other toll roads. Heathrow Airport allows EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles to park without charge in their short-stay car parks as long as they are connected to a charger, but if the Government wants to accelerate ULEV uptake even more rapidly, major airports including my local one, Manchester, should consider subsidising free long-stay parking.
It would be good to see other organisations, especially those with an environmental focus such as the National Trust, also exempting ULEVs from parking fees, although I appreciate that this may result in prices for their other provisions increasing in order to compensate.
There is the risk that the UK could ultimately end up like Norway, which has recently had to pull the unrivalled incentives it offered to EV owners, bringing taxation back and rescinding bus lane access, which Norwegians cited as the third-most compelling factor behind their EV adoption.
With 24.4% of new vehicles registered in Norway in the first quarter of 2016 being electric or plug-in, the UK, at circa 1.4%, still has a long way to go before these green vehicles will become a hindrance, so I hope additional incentives will continue to be announced thick and fast by a variety of organisations.